Live-blogging the World Cup finals by someone who knows nothing about it: The 15-year-old is very into the World Cup and I’m working on some things in the same room. I’ll post some observations throughout the game.
National anthems: Italy wins for the exuberance of how the players sing, although I actually know the French national anthem.
Some guy named Henry (but pronounced HON-ray hon-REE by my son) got whacked in the head but some smelling salts revives him.
The French team gets a penalty kick and goes ahead 1-0. However, I have no idea why. Although it was pretty cool how the ball hit the bar and then bounced in.
The announcer says the team that scores first wins forty-something times vs. losing seven times. Which proves that soccer announcers fill time with meaningless statistics just like in other sports.
The announcer says, “It’s going to be a physical game.” As opposed to what? A metaphysical game?
Tied up. Someone from Italy “strikes” to make it one-one. That makes the word “strike” an autoantonym as the word “stike” in baseball is when you miss the ball and in soccer it means, well, something good.
Announcer: “It’s wonderful to be in this historic stadium built for the 1936 Olympics in which Jessie Owens won four gold medals.” The concepts of “wonderful” and Nazi-built structure rarely get juxtaposed.
There’s a “man down” for Italy but the fans are booing and doing that European whistling thing which I guess means the spectators are not fans of getting hurt.
Announcer: The coach of France doesn’t have any Scorpios on the team and only two Leos.
Why this game will never make it in the U.S.: We’re 40 minutes into the game and there hasn’t been a commercial yet.
The fans are doing the wave — they’re bored too.
I swear, the announcer just said, “Sadaam is tripped up.” However, my son assures me he said another name, like “Shazaam.”
The fans stop doing the wave but start singing La Marseillaise. And then they start singing something that sounds strangely like the Indian war-chant heard at Fla. State football games.
Announcer: “There’s the whistle, the first half of this World Cup finals is history.”
Half time analysis: Lots of ads for horror movies. (Is that an indication of the demographics of the viewers?) We now interrupt these commercials for 90 seconds of commentary. We now interrupt these commercials for some more commercials.
Jim McKay is a legend and I would never say anything about him that is negative in any way. However, I have no idea what he just said in that 60 second commentary that interrupted the third 3-minute block of commercials in a row. Whatever he said, I agree with one-hundred percent.
Announcer: “We’re getting ready for a magnificent second half.” (A physical one?)
There are lots of people out on a plaza in Boston watching the game on TV. They are either Italians or French or just soccer fans. I didn’t quite catch why they weren’t home watching the Red Sox
Okay. The 15-year-old clarifies for me the guy the announcers keep making me think is named “Saddam” is actually named Zidane
Announcer: “The French are getting more physical.”
Announcer: “The French team has great affection for Zidane.”
Announcer: “Zidane winds it up and drills it.”
Announcer: “Zidane tries to slow things down and retain possession for France.”
Announcer: “The Zi-zoo chants begin – ‘the nickname for Zidane.'”
Italy scores, but nooooo, they’re off-sides says the guy holding up the flag.
Fashion question: Why is Italy wearing blue? The Italian flag is exactly the same as the French flag except the Italian flag has green on the left and the French, blue. Thus, Italy should be wearing green, not blue.
I’m a fan of the European whistling thing (instead of booing). Perhaps that’s because I have a really loud whistle. I think it’s a much more obnoxious sound when done collectively by thousands of people.
President Clinton is at the game smoking a cigar.
Announcer: “Zidane sees things before the other players.”
The announcer has a health tip: Spraying cold water on a place where someone has kicked the crap of you helps numb the pain.
Why this game will never make it in the U.S.: Anytime you tackle from behind it’s an automatic FIFA foul.
Announcer: “The trophy presentation is the greatest in sports.” Other announcer: “It’s the only trophy where you truly are a world champion — where you’ve played everyone in the world.” Yes, I agree with the announcer: That whole Olympics thing is not international.
Zidane may be gone. That would be a shame. Thank goodness, he sprayed cold water on whatever was bothering him and is still in the game.
We’re over the 90 minute mark and still only one big commercial break. By the way, what’s the deal with the clock going up instead of down?
We’re finished with the “regulation” play. Now we’ll have two 15 minute overtimes. I’m not exactly why there is two 15 minute overtimes instead of one 30 minute overtime. However, from an advertising standpoint, it makes sense.
For the fifth time, we hear one-billion people are watching this. That sounds small to me. Isn’t there 1.3 billion people in China. Don’t they like soccer?
The Cialis Western Open is being delayed on ABC because of the overtime. It must be awful having a golf tournament with a name that is guaranteed to get it blocked by spam filters.
Sidenote: Soccer is a good sport to watch if you’re doing something else. Excuse my ignorance, but it reminds me of a basketball game where both teams are using a four-corner offense interrupted by some brilliant behind the back shot off a head blocked by the goalie who dives 15 feet into the air. Have they ever tried a shot clock?
Why this game will never make it in the U.S.: Between the two overtimes, there was not enough time for a block of commercials.
Zidane (a player who “is so classy,” says the announcer) gets red-carded for head-butting an Italian player. “That was absolutely awful what he did,” says the announcer. France is now “down a man.” And not just any man: but Zidane “in a totally classless act” in the championship game. Upside: The announcers have something to talk about. Announcer: “They should not have replayed the head butt in the stadium.”
Announcer: “The players are getting tired so they are getting emotional.” Also, “they just don’t have much left in the tank.” (I know how they feel.)
Over time is over. We now have time for commercials. Next up: five penalty kicks each.
Announcer: Everyone is on the edge of their seats for the penalty kicks!
Announcer: “A good penalty kicker fakes the goalie off.” (Now that’s some expert insight.)
3-2 in kicks. Announcer: “The drama builds in Berlin.” Huge-huge, he adds. France must-must make this penalty kick or it’s over. He makes it. France is still alive.
Final observation from me: Zidane’s head-butt will certainly go down as one of the biggest butt-head acts in sports history.
Final, final observation: Whichever team sings the national anthem with the most exuberance wins. Having zodiac signs influence player selection is not the best strategy. The team that scores first doesn’t always win. Soccer announcers are as bad as those in other sports. I can see soccer over-coming the NHL to become the fourth largest major league sport in the U.S., in, say, 50-75 years or so — or sooner, if they allow tackling from behind and add a shot clock.